New Mexico Democrats seek out jobs in hemp, new minimum wage

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Democrats in the New Mexico Legislature say they want to create new jobs and boost the economy by allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp, raising the state minimum wage and adding local preferences to economic development incentives.

Sen. Clemente Sanchez of Grants on Thursday announced the Democrats’ six-point plan to boost employment that includes investments in broadband internet infrastructure. He says other economic solutions are contained in next year’s $63 million capital outlay plan, the smallest allocation in years.

New Mexico’s 6.6 percent unemployment rate is the second highest in the nation, and the state’s overall economy output shrank during the fiscal year ending in June 2016.

House and Senate Democrats are backing several bills that would increase the statewide minimum wage to as high as $10.10 by 2020.

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